PHIL 363A - Seminar in History and Philosophy of Science: Democratic Science¿of the Climate, Races, H2O

Is the Earth多s climate real? Does it exist beyond experimental data, computer simulation, andscientists多 writings? This seminar considers philosophical, historical, and anthropological perspectiveson the reality of scientific entities. It asks how these metaphysical questions are connected to ourdemocratic societies and our position as scholars. We will ask whether Homo sapiens is sub-dividedinto races and ethnicities in the manner of a census form. And how genetics should interact with oursocial understanding of human diversity. Further, can the answers to these questions stand alone asisolated academic questions, or must they be tied together with our political philosophy and socialnorms? If democratic pluralism leads to metaphysical pluralism, what becomes of long-discardedscientific entities, such as phlogiston? Some argue that pluralism upsets our most basic scientificfacts, like: water is H2O.This graduate seminar examines these scientific entities多the climate, races, phlogiston多fromperspectives in Philosophy, Anthropology, and History of Science. The course topics illustrate recenttrends toward metaphysics in the humanistic study of science. Students will develop their ability tocompare positions and arguments between disciplines. Class time will emphasize inter-disciplinarydiscussion. The major writing assignment is an essay with multiple drafts. This is designed to preparestudents for writing and revising dissertation chapters and peer-reviewed articles.Activities may include a film screening and visit to a scientific laboratory.Students from all programs are welcome. (Advanced undergraduates by permission.).
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